By a massive stroke of good fortune, Chipo (the other International Office Assistant) and I got tickets to the Paralympic Games on the 3th of September. The office was extremely kind to let us off early for the day (Thank you Vicki and Andrew!). Naturally we were awfully excited – in fact a bit too excited, as we completely forgot to plan our journey. It was only in the train that we realised we had to make our way from Victoria to Stratford without any maps or smart phones.
After wobbling on the moving train looking at the map on the ceiling and frantically calling friends and family (who were naturally a bit annoyed or concerned about our spontaneity) – we managed to reach Stratford. It was a bit strange at first, as the whole station was deserted and it looked like a scene from one of those Zombie apocalypse movies. But once we reached the Olympic Park – the atmosphere was electric! After a lot of checks (must mention that the staff were extremely friendly and understanding (Chipo had a fork in her bag that got the metal detector beeping)) – we reached the stadium. It was buzzing with activity – and with the audience cheering, it seemed to have a life of its own – a giant roaring unit.
What pleasantly surprised me was how supportive the crowd was to each and every country. Every winner got a massive applause, though it is safe to say that Team GB were the obvious favourites. We got see the Women’s 400m – T54 finals, Women’s Long Jump – F20 finals, Men’s 400m Final –T52, Men’s 5000m – T12 Finals, Men’s High Jump – F42 Final (where I was too excited to hold my pizza still. Now my white shirt will hold the everlasting memory of my country’s first silver medal in London 2012 Paralympic). There were several other events but my memory seems to be failing me right now, but I do remember that we were extremely lucky to see 2 world records and 1 Paralympic record broken right in front of us.
After a punctual end of the show, we all flocked out of the stadium. The Games makers were amazing and made the journey to the train station extremely entertaining. We got to see several chicken dances, random people high fiving each other and every one passing by the mounted police patting the horses (guilty as charged). We finally reached home in Southampton well past midnight – extremely tired and exhausted but happy and inspired.